#StayHome Stay Well
Tips on staying well for you and your family from the Dean of the School of Counseling of TCA College.
By Rev Sam Kuna
Reflecting on my current Work From Home (WFH) experience during our Singapore Circuit Breaker (CB) period, I wish to share several personal lessons and proposals to help families manage staying at home.
Not only did every member of the family have to adjust to the “losses” of their personal way of life before the CB, but now, each member has to adjust to “a-never-experienced-before” reality – i.e. living together 24/7!
Under this new home environment, we need to take care of our personal mental well-being as well as others in the family. The good news is…this Circuit Breaker is time-limited and will pass.
Here are some tips I have used and some recommendations:
1. Develop a Routine – quickly!
Start a routine now – go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time. Write a schedule or have a template in your mind. Vary it for each day of the week and keep to it.
Remember to include self-care – set aside time to take a walk, read a book, listen to music, watch TV programs, etc. It is good to add prayer in the morning too! “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” - Mark 1:35
2. Maintain Personal Grooming
Continue keeping personal hygiene and grooming such as washing your face, brushing your teeth, and combing/brushing your hair.
Ladies, do enjoy putting on a little make-up. Dress up with bright colors – yes, these can uplift your mood!
We can take a hint from Jesus on how we present ourselves while managing challenges. “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.” - Matthew 6:17-18
I make a point to move each day for at least 30 minutes, such as taking a walk (remember to wear your mask).
If you aren’t comfortable stepping out of the house, there are lots of online videos of simple exercise routines that you could follow. You can also move to worship music at home! “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” - 1 Timothy 4:8
4. Drink Water
Oh yes, drink water – sufficient amounts to keep yourself hydrated.
Minimize sugar and caffeine intake, and no stress-eating as we are not clocking our minimum daily steps while staying at home.
We need to take good care of our bodies.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
5. Lighten Up
WFH is a major “disruption” to our personal routines, and spending 24/7 at home can cause our defenses to be on “high alert!”
Yet, this is a good time to learn (or re-learn) what Christian love is all about.
Consider individual members in your family above yourself.
Spend pockets of time, especially over meals, watching a show together, and engaging in conversations about each other. Laugh together and discover the simplicity and healing of ‘non-judgmental relationships’ within the family once again!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine…” - Proverbs 17:22a
“Fathers (includes mothers, guardians, & caregivers), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” - Ephesians 6:4
1. Children’s Feelings
Children may not completely understand the concept of the Circuit Breaker, and therefore not know how to express their feelings.
When younger children play, they usually express their innermost fears or confusion that they are trying to resolve.
If they are good story-tellers, there could be themes of being trapped, sickness, or doctors. Going along with their stories can help children process their inner worlds. Avoid judging their stories!
Have spaces where children can retreat; there needs to be a space for playing, for studying, for relaxing, and for cooling off! This can be a couch with cushions and/or blankets, cloths, etc. where the child can “hide” or even build a covering, a tent, or a “castle.”
Children may develop maladaptive behaviors (behaviors that stop them from adapting to new or difficult circumstances) and temperaments. Learn to accommodate, tolerate, and give a gentle response.
Different children at different age groups respond differently to expectations placed upon them by adults (parents, teachers, pastors, etc.).
Avoid introducing new forms of discipline or punishment or expect major behavioral changes.
If you need help, reach out to your pastors or counselors.
4. Strengthen the Connection
Parents, you have so many aspects in the family to look into – work, deadlines, home-based learning for children, running a routine of preparing meals, etc.
It is easy to be fixated on managing or restricting behaviors and increasing expectations. Do take advantage of the 24/7 proximity to strengthen the emotional connection with your child(ren) through physical touch, laughter, fun activities, and play.
Following their lead and giving verbal assurances that you are there for them will help calm your child(ren).
5. Family Projects
Parents, consider starting a good family project where you work together with your teenager/s, such as fixing a puzzle, baking a cake, or cooking a YouTube recipe meal together! (Check out the recipe from Pastor Wendy Chang and her daughter Charis here.)
You can engage older teens in coming up with ideas to redesign their rooms, or the entire house.
They can source for ideas online and come up with the measurements, furniture designs, for their own rooms. Work with their strengths! Be creative! Stay positive!
Reflect & Respond
Has there been tensions at home? How can you lighten up? What family projects can you do together?
Which tip(s) of the personal well-being section can you start this coming week?